Minneapolis Park Board adopts 2019 Budget focusing on youth services, fiscal responsibility, environmental protection and engaging the communities’ power

At their December 5 meeting, the Board of Commissioners unanimously adopted a 2019 Budget for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) that focuses on four priorities: invest in youth; be financially sustainable; protect the environment; and engage communities’ power. It also reflects initiatives to meet the changing demographics and needs of the community, including more frontline staff to deliver critical services, piloting the wrap-around full-service community school/park model, and increased funding for a recreation micro-grant program. Commissioners also approved renaming the micro-grant program after former park commissioner Walter Dziedzic.

At their December 5 meeting, the Board of Commissioners unanimously adopted a 2019 Budget for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) that focuses on four priorities: invest in youth; be financially sustainable; protect the environment; and engage communities’ power. It also reflects initiatives to meet the changing demographics and needs of the community, including more frontline staff to deliver critical services, piloting the wrap-around full-service community school/park model, and increased funding for a recreation micro-grant program. Commissioners also approved renaming the micro-grant program after former park commissioner Walter Dziedzic.

“Our city has a critical need for enhanced youth programs and services, and youth violence prevention strategies, and the Park Board is uniquely positioned to address this need” said Superintendent Mary Merrill. “We appreciate Mayor Frey’s support for the work we do and his down payment towards the ongoing investment needed for youth services. We are very proud to partner with the Mayor and the Minneapolis Public Schools on piloting the new wrap-around, full-service community school/park model for Minneapolis children.”

A wrap-around, full-service site will be the hub in the community where families will have access to resources where all their needs can be met. The Park Board’s role in this partnership will be to find where a park and school share the same site and work together to leverage both park and school resources and services in support of young people and their families.

“I am proud this Board unanimously adopted a budget that increases the number of parkkeepers who care for our parks to pre-recession levels. We also increased our investment in youth, youth jobs and critical youth programming,” said Park Board President Brad Bourn. “It’s an honor to expand our recreation micro grant program and rename it after the late Walt Dziedzic who was such an advocate for parks, youth and families in Minneapolis. Parks are for everyone and this budget puts us in a sound financial position to continue providing services the community wants and needs.”

The MPRB 2019 Budget includes increased funding in the Youth Development Department for the Leadership Fund micro-grant program to focus on elders, girls and Somali program partnerships, and renaming the Leadership Fund the Walter Dziedzic Recreation Innovation Fund. Additional youth development initiatives include increased youth employment through Teen Teamworks, two additional Conservation Corps crews, support for the Run and Shoot Basketball League, and two additional Youthline program specialist positions.

The MPRB 2019 Budget includes a 5.7 percent property tax levy increase that includes 5.8 percent increase for the General Fund annual operating increase, and 3.0 percent increase for the Tree Preservation and Reforestation Levy to address Emerald Ash Borer infestation and tree loss due to storms. Of the Minneapolis property tax paid by Minneapolis homeowners, approximately eight cents of every dollar will go to the MPRB. The 5.7 percent property tax increase will result in an estimated annual increase of $17 for the owner of a $249,000 home.

The MPRB 2019 Budget totals $124.7 million, including $84.3 million for the general operating fund, $3.2 million for the special revenue fund, $11.9 million for the enterprise operating fund and $25.3 for capital project funding.

The 2019 Budget includes multiple initiatives to protect the environment, including the addition of a forestry outreach position, a community garden position, and a gardener position. The budget also includes developing a comprehensive energy action plan, implementing a carp management plan for Lake Nokomis, creating interactive exhibits at the Kroening Interpretive Center, and use of a racial equity lens in tree planting.  To better engage communities’ power, the 2019 Budget includes development of the next Comprehensive Plan, creation of a Language Access Plan, implementation of a city-wide resident survey, continued racial equity and inclusion work, funding for the community-led Juneteenth celebration and enhanced staffing for events. The focus on financial sustainability includes the 20 Year Neighborhood Park Program funding and balancing the need to maintain existing facilities and programs with the importance of offering improved and new programs and services requested by the community.

Initiatives and Changes for 2019

The adopted MPRB 2019 Budget includes the following changes and new initiatives recommended by Superintendent Merrill in October or proposed by commissioners in November. For full details, view 2019 budget documents at www.minneapolisparks.org/budget:

  • Asset Management – conversion of four Parkkeeper Trainees (NPP20) to four full-time Parkkeepers (NPP20); reallocation of staff to support maintenance of concession areas in Enterprise Fund; reduction in seasonal parkkeeper and mobile equipment operator staffing; option to convert seasonal parkkeeper positions to up to six full-time positions; addition of gardener position; reduction in overtime; reductions in revenue due to changes in services provided
  • Athletic Programs, Aquatics & Ice Arenas – increases in revenues and decreases in expenditures for athletic programs and aquatics based on trends and actual experience; increase in revenue for ice arenas based on market comparisons; expenses for ice arena small equipment purchases
  • Communications and Marketing – funds for city-wide resident survey and development of a MPRB Language Access Plan; reduction in contract services for web maintenance and enhancements; reduction in full-time archivist position to part-time
  • Community Outreach – addition of full-time events position; increase in part-time event staffing; adds funding for annual Juneteenth celebration and establishment of overhead charge for revenue-based MPRB events; funding for cultural somatic training and implementation, Government Alliance on Race and Equity memberships, and results-based training to continue advancement of racial equity work
  • Customer Service – increases in revenue based on market comparisons and addition of three canoe racks at North Cedar Beach; increase in sailboat buoy fees; increase in parking revenue due to expansion of parking operations, increase to annual parking permit fee and increase to parking lot rates at targeted lots at the Chain of Lakes and Minnehaha Falls
  • Design and Project Management – reduces one project designer position and associated project charge revenue
  • Deputy Superintendent’s Office – funds to develop facility emergency preparedness plans for storm, active shooter and fire emergencies; funds for phase one of MPRB ordinance review
  • Environmental Management – addition of full-time position to provide coordination and initial implementation of community garden policy; increase to fully fund two Conservation Corps crews; addition of culturally specific aquatic invasive species education
  • Finance – increase enterprise fund overhead charge for financial services provided for that fund
  • Forestry – continuation of the Tree Preservation & Reforestation Levy to remove and replace ash trees and replant trees lost during storms; changes to expenditures based on anticipated spending; addition of forestry outreach position; reduce contractual services for stump grinding and increase use of in-house labor to maintain number of stumps removed annually 
  • Golf – supports reduction in part-time clubhouse staff based on actual spending; increase in golf revenue based on market comparisons; development of a Golf Department long-range financial sustainable operating plan
  • Human Resources – funds employee survey of full-time staff; transfer to the Enterprise Fund of background check costs associated with enterprise fund staff  
  • Park Police –eliminates new part-time police officer positions added, but never hired, in 2018 and the revenue associated with special event work assignments by these part-time officers; reduction in contractual services for dispatch based on actual expenses
  • Recreation Centers and Programs – addition of piloting wrap-around, full-service community school/park model; transfer of funds from Youth Development to support the Run and Shoot Basketball League; increase in revenue to better match revenue that has been consistently generated in recreation over past several years
  • Strategic Planning – adds a part-time office support position for property research, verifications and field monitoring of encroachments; funds for development of next Comprehensive Plan
  • Superintendent’s Office – addition of full-time Intergovernmental Relations position; reduction of contractual services; reduction in lobbying contracts
  • Youth Development – increase in Teen Teamworks to hire 30 additional youth; increase of part-time staffing to assist with RecPlus state reporting requirements; transfer of park leadership funds to Recreation Centers and Programs for the Run and Shoot Basketball League; increase leadership funds (micro-grants) to focus on elders, girls and Somali program partnerships; rename the leadership fund program the Walter Dziedzic Recreation Innovation Fund; use of one-time funds to conduct Youthline program evaluation; add two Youthline program specialist positions after Youthline evaluation completed

In 2019, there are no fee increases for most activities, permits and programs. There are market-rate fee increases for select activities and services, and fees have been established for new activities and services being launched in 2019.